An environmental ethic of life -giving creativity informed by science and religion

Michelle Yoon-Kyung Lee Kim, Fordham University


I address in this dissertation one of the most important issues of our day—the ecological crisis. Guided by a contemporary scientific story of the universe as a story of life-giving creativity and recognizing its potential for bringing together core convictions from science, religion, and ethics into a new shared world view that could foster a greater sense of ecological responsibility, I propose an environmental ethic. Central to this ethic is a vision of life-giving creativity, which I claim characterizes the new evolutionary world view as interdependent and relational, holistic, emergent, historical, and communal—providing a morally, theologically, and ecologically coherent vision that can be shared by all. The ethic of life-giving creativity is developed using an epistemological framework, which is based on two well known scientific models that have also been recognized as viable methodologies for theology: a Lakatosian research program and the Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) model. A Lakatosian research program provides a basis for harmonizing and relating interdisciplinary ideas, providing support for a core belief at their center; the IBE model provides a basis for generating plausible or meaningful explanations for available data—whether they are scientific or theological. Furthermore, I discuss the potential of the story of life-giving creativity to provide Christians with a sacred story that enables them to relate to people of other faiths and ultimately to all people of good will. I discuss an educational philosophy and a model of religious education that are consistent with the vision of life-giving creativity. Moreover, I discuss a new eco-spirituality that is also consistent with the shared vision, which encourages us to revalue the mystical and sacramental nature of creation. Finally, I present Franciscan spirituality as an expression of the authentic Christian attitude toward nature and also as an example of this new eco-spirituality.

Subject Area

Religion|Philosophy|Religious education|Environmental science|Education philosophy

Recommended Citation

Kim, Michelle Yoon-Kyung Lee, "An environmental ethic of life -giving creativity informed by science and religion" (2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3299113.